Thursday, June 6, 2013

The world's best grade 6 grad portraits!

These are my FAVORITE!! For grade 6 grad, our school always does some kind of self portrait project with the students. Last year, we did pop art style self portraits. This year, using an idea I adapted from The Lost Sock Blog, students made avatars on, which they printed and used as references to draw their portraits onto cardboard.

Just to give some perspective on how big they are:

Here's a quick summary of the way we did it:
  • design an avatar using, and print it out
  • draw the avatar onto cardboard, using pencil
  • trace all pencil in Sharpie (this is a must - even though it will get covered in paint, you need to have dark lines to see them again after you've painted on them!)
  • paint with tempera paint (use acrylic for whites and light colors so that they show up well!)
  • wait until paint is dry, then retrace your Sharpie lines
  • use chalk pastel to add detail (cheek color, highlights in hair, shading around nose and chin, etc.)
  • cut out using Exacto knife


I just love them. Cardboard was an amazing surface to work on - it soaks up the paint beautifully and gives rich, inspiring color. I love them!

Three more weeks left of school! Many changes ahead, I can't wait to share them all here!!


  1. Super Cool! What an Awesome portrait project for 6th graders. I can see these hanging in their rooms. :)

  2. That is so cool that you did it! They look great! and you did it wit 6th graders... that must have been hard. They did awesome. THey sure do have a pretty teacher too!
    Tabitha of the Lost Sock blogs

  3. Amazing! Yet another art project I need to borrow from your blog. Thanks for posting.

  4. oh my, these are fantastic!!! I can't wait to try with my students. Was it really hard to cut the cardboard with an exact? I find that challenging for some reason. Maybe I need a new knife?

    1. It wasn't hard at all, some kids even used bi scissors. Get new knives! :)

  5. wanted to know how you printed the avatars without buying them...I have 30 students so it adds up!

  6. Thank you for posting such a fun, new idea for students' self-portraits. I was so inspired by it, I had my students create their own Manga-style self-portraits too. It was a big hit. You can check out my students' work at

  7. Thank you for your alteration idea from the original. I'd love to do a whole person and maybe I will, we will see about time. Did you buy each one and print it? Or just copy it off the computer?

  8. Also did each student create an account?

  9. What size cardboard did you use? How did you have students transfer/enlarge the copy to the cardboard?


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